Behavioral and Experiential Self-Regulations in Psychological Well-Being under Proximal and Distal Goal Conditions


This study examined the relationship of goal-related components of cybernetic, behavioral, and experiential self-regulations to psychological well-being under two types of conditions, the pursuit of intrinsic goals in general and specific intrinsic goals for the academic term. In an online survey, undergraduates (N = 186) completed global measures of psychological well-being, behavioral and experiential self-regulations, and rated themselves on goal-related self-regulatory components. Correlations indicated that most of the cybernetic, behavioral and experiential self-regulatory variables were associated with each other and with well-being. In terms of the goal-related self-regulatory components, when pursuing intrinsic goals more generally, the experiential self-regulatory component of enjoyment of the activity predicted well-being. However, when pursuing intrinsic term goals, the cybernetic self-regulatory component of perceived goal progress and the behavioral self-regulatory component of self-reinforcement for goal progress predicted well-being. The findings extend theoretical conceptualizations of psychological well-being by integrating compatibilities between cybernetic, behavioral, experiential self-regulatory processes and motivational conditions.

Share and Cite:

Horvath, P. & McColl, V. (2013). Behavioral and Experiential Self-Regulations in Psychological Well-Being under Proximal and Distal Goal Conditions. Psychology, 4, 975-984. doi: 10.4236/psych.2013.412141.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Ahrens, A. H. (1987). Theories of depression: The role of goals and the self-evaluation process. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 11, 665-680.
[2] Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.
[3] Barbeau, A., Sweet, S., & Fortier, M. (2009). A path-analytic model of self-determination theory in a physical activity context. Journal of Applied Biobehavioural Research, 14, 103-118.
[4] Berwick, D. M., Murphy, J. M., Goldman, P. A., Ware, J. E., Barsky, A. J., & Weinstein, M. C. (1991). Performance of a five-item mental health screening test. Medical Care, 29, 169-176.
[5] Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1998). On the self-regulation of behavior. New York: Cambridge University Press.
[6] Crawford, J. R., & Henry, J. D. (2004). The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS): Construct validity, measurement properties, and normative data in a large non-clinical sample. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 43, 245-265.
[7] Crocker, J., Brook, A. T., Niiya, Y., & Villacorta, M. (2006). The pursuit of self-esteem: Contingencies of self-worth and self-regulation. Journal of Personality, 74, 1749-1771.
[8] Cuijpers, P., Smits, N., Donker, T., ten Have, M., & de Graaf, R. (2009). Screening for mood and anxiety disorders with the five-item, the three-item, and the two-item Mental Health Inventory. Psychiatry Research, 168, 250-255.
[9] Deci, E. L., Eghrari, H., Patrick, B. C., & Leone, D. R. (1994). Facilitating internalization: The self-determination theory perspective. Journal of Personality, 62, 119-142.
[10] Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum Press.
[11] Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1987). The support of autonomy and the control of behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 1024-1037.
[12] Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1995). Human autonomy: The basis for true self-esteem. In M. H. Kernis (Ed.), Efficacy, agency, and self-esteem (pp. 31-49). New York: Plenum Press.
[13] Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227-268.
[14] Endler, N. S., & Kocovski, N. L. (2000). Self-regulation and distress in clinical psychology. In M. Boekaerts, P. R. Pintrich, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation (pp. 569-599). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
[15] Febbraro, G. A. R., & Clum, G. A. (1998). Meta-analytic investigation of the effectiveness of self-regulatory components in the treatment of adult problem behaviors. Clinical Psychology Review, 18, 143-161.
[16] Guay, F., Mageau, G. A., & Vallerand, R. J. (2003). On the hierarchical structure of self-determined motivation: A test of top-down and bottom-up effects. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 992-1004.
[17] Hyland, M. (1987). Control theory interpretation of psychological mechanisms of depression: Comparison and integration of several theories. Psychological Bulletin, 102, 109-121.
[18] Ingledew, D. K., & Markland, D. (2008). The role of motives in exercise participation. Psychology and Health, 23, 807-828.
[19] Kanfer, F. H. (1970). Self-regulation: Research, issues, and speculations. In C. Neuringer, & J. L. Michael, (Eds.), Behavior modification in clinical psychology (pp. 178-220). New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
[20] Kocovski, N. L., & Endler, N. S. (2000). Self-regulation: Social anxiety and depression. Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research, 5, 80-91.
[21] Koestner, R., Otis, N., Powers, T. A., Pelletier, L., & Gagnon, H. (2008). Autonomous motivation, controlled motivation, and goal progress. Journal of Personality, 76, 1201-1229.
[22] Liberman, N., & Trope, Y. (1998). The role of feasibility and desirability considerations in near and distant future decisions: A test of temporal construal theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 5-18.
[23] Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey. American Psychologist, 57, 705-717.
[24] McCreary, M. L., Slavin, L. A., & Berrry, E. J. (1996). Predicting problem behavior and self-esteem among African American adolescents. Journal of Adolescents Research, 11, 216-234.
[25] Mezo, P. G. (2009). The Self-Control and Self-Management Scale (SCMS): Development of an adaptive self-regulatory coping skills instrument. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 31, 83-93.
[26] Ogunyemi, A., & Mabekoje, S. (2007). Self-efficacy, risk-taking behavior and mental health as predictors of personal growth initiative among university undergraduates. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 5, 349-362.
[27] Owens, T. J., Mortimer, J. T., & Finch, M. D. (1996). Self-determination as a source of self-esteem in adolescence. Social Forces, 74, 1377-1404.
[28] Pelletier, L. G., Sharp, E., Levesque, C., Vallerand, R. J., Guay, F., & Blanchard, C. (2007). The General Motivation Scale (GMS): Its Validity and Usefulness in Predicting Success and Failure at Self-Regulation. Manuscript in preparation. Ottawa: University of Ottawa.
[29] Peterson, C., Park, N., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2005). Orientation to happiness and life satisfaction: The full life versus the empty life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6, 25-41.
[30] Powers, T. A., Koestner, R., Lacaille, N., Kwan, L., & Zuroff, D. C. (2009). Self-criticism, motivation, and goal progress of athletes and musicians: A prospective study. Personality and Individual Differences, 47, 279-283.
[31] Ratelle, C. F., Vallerand, R. J., Chantal, Y., & Provencher, P. (2004). Cognitive adaptation and mental health: A motivational analysis. European Journal of Social Psychology, 34, 459-476.
[32] Rosenberg, M. (1979). Conceiving the self. New York: Basic Books.
[33] Rosenberg, M., Schooler, C., & Schoenbach, C. (1989). Self-esteem and adolescent problems: Modeling reciprocal effects. American Sociological Review, 54, 1004-1018.
[34] Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68-78.
[35] Ryan, R. M., Huta, V., & Deci, E. L. (2008). Living well: A self-determination theory perspective on eudaimonia. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, 139-170.
[36] Sheldon, K. M., & Elliot, A. J. (1999). Goal striving, need satisfaction, and longitudinal well-being: The self-concordance model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 482-497.
[37] Sheldon, K. M., & Kasser, T. (1995). Coherence and congruence: Two aspects of personality integration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 531-543.
[38] Sheldon, K. M., & Kasser, T. (1998). Pursuing personal goals: Skills enable progress, but not all progress is beneficial. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24, 1319-1331.
[39] Sheldon, K. M., Ryan, R. M., Deci, E. L., & Kasser, T. (2004). The independent effects of goal contents and motives on well-being: It’s both what you pursue and why you pursue it. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 475-486.
[40] Siegert, R. J., McPherson, K. M., & Taylor, W. L. (2004). Toward a cognitive-affective model of goal-setting in rehabilitation: Is self-regulation theory a key step? Disability and Rehabilitation, 26, 1175-1183.
[41] Spangler, W. D. (1992). Validity of questionnaire and TAT measures of need for achievement: Two meta-analyses. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 140-154.
[42] Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics (5th ed.). New York: Allyn & Bacon.
[43] Thrash, T. M., & Elliot, A. J. (2002). Implicit and self-attributed achievement motives: Concordance and predictive validity. Journal of Personality, 70, 729-755.
[44] Trope, Y., & Liberman, N. (2010). Construal-level theory of psychological distance. Psychological Review, 117, 440-463.
[45] Trope, Y., Liberman, N., & Wakslak, C. (2007). Construal levels and psychological distance: Effects on representation, prediction, evaluation, and behavior. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 17, 83-95.
[46] Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063-1070.
[47] Wicker, F. W., Hamman, D., Reed, J. H., McCann, E. J., & Turner, J. E. (2005). Goal orientation, goal difficulty, and incentive values of academic goals. Psychological Reports, 96, 681-689.
[48] Zimmerman, B. J., & Schunk, D. H. (2001). Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: Theoretical perspectives (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.